Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Jeju: Volcanic Rocks, Women Divers & Wind

After watching several Korean dramas featuring getaway trips to Jeju, I finally experienced it myself!
Taewoo and his family offered to bring me there and do everything we could possibly do if I covered my own flight. With such an attractive offer, it was almost impossible to say no. 

So together with his family we arrived at Jeju Airport and his father immediately whipped out the selfie stick (one of his best friends) known as the selkabong (샐카봉) over here in Korea. His dad was pretty much as shameless as me or even more which made it all the more enjoyable as we just did silly things throughout the entire trip.

When we got our rental car, we headed to Rich Mango, as recommended by Seon Mi eonni (선미언니). They offered delicious mango smoothies blended from juicy sweet chunks of ripe mango. 

While waiting for our order, they gave us a random Korean celebrity name! Why? The minute our order was ready they began shouting our celebrity name. In this case, we were Son Ye Jin

Son Ye Jin :O

We were also lightly entertained by the presence of this boy and another two of his friends while waiting for our smoothies. They were definitely wishing that they had less fur due to the high humidity and heat as well.

Our mango shake came in a bottle as such with a straw poking through a hole in its cap while being padded with the fruit sponge..thing which it normally done on fresh fruit itself. Right opposite the shop was the sea and so we could walk along it while looking at the magnificent view.

Tada! The view from our cliff.

After that we headed to the beach to watch people collecting some shellfish for some delicious snackage later. The weather wasn't too great as it was pretty grey and drizzly so the view wasn't as nice as it usually is.

So instead we went to satisfy our tums at Bok Do Se Gi (복도새기) by having an utmostly delicious Korean barbecue meal - Samgyeobsal (삼겹살). Accompanied with delicious side dishes and somaek (soju & beer) it was omnomnoms.

We proceeded to the Jeju Glass Castle (제주유리의성) where almost everything in it was made of glass and all its flowers, fish, tree decorations, murals and more.

Immediately upon entering you see a giant glass beanstalk surrounded by glass musical notes on glass staves on the wall.

Of course they decided to play on Cinderella's glass shoe idea and made a feature of it.

Glass filled arches and so on

Don't forget the glass music instruments too!

Mirrors can obviously never be left out when it comes to glass, so they created a multi-reflection room accompanied by LED Lights

While little lit stained glass towns were an absolute beaut.

Glass murals.

They also had natural beauty within the glass castle, however, there were glass ornaments within the pond such as fish, frogs, lily pads and so on.

The father's selkabong strikes again. After that we headed to our rented house and crashed for the night. That pretty much sums up our first day in Jeju!

The next morning, we went for 'breakfast' at the O'sulloc Tea Museum (오설록티뮤지엄).
We enjoyed some delicious green tea ice cream in all its creaminess and joy. It was probably the best green tea ice cream I've ever had :').

Of course the tea museum featured more than just the restaurant. Upon entry we were welcomed by paper cups upon paper cups which had different drawings all over them.

It also featured different tea sets from around the world accentuating the different varieties available.

I purchased an interesting product in which I've never seen before! Essentially it's a green tea milk spread for your toast! Gonna bring this back to Ireland and it'll probably get me through my first month of breakfast in college hah!

And of course, the selkabong striked again.

Outside the tea museum there were rows and rows of tea plants in which you could just about squeeze through between each one.

Then I discovered another one of Taewoo's dad's favourites - The Jump Shot.
In total I think we took around 20 jump shots or more haha!

Along with his trusty selkabong, he had his trusted fan in which he used both as a heat reliever, a fashion accessory and a weapon. It was absolutely hilarious.

Since the weather cleared up today we headed back to the sea to watch the waves crashing along the rocks.

We began to get peckish and headed to the nearby restaurant just opposite the sea in which they served yummy seafood dishes. This was my favourite among the four we had which was a spicy seafood soup. The orange deliciousness on the top was from the sea urchin! Something I and even Taewoo has never had due to its price. 

Since the parents wanted me to have the best experience I could with them, they treated me with the delicacy and boy was it exquisite.

We headed to the Bomnal Cafe (봄날카페) which means Spring Day Cafe. It was located just opposite the Handam Beach. It was fully packed with people and so we were unable to find a seat unfortunately. Its fame is due to being featured as the Maendorong Ttottot (맨도롱또똣) in the Warm and Cosy Korean Drama.

Jeju is famous for its UNESCO world sites in which they have NINE!
We weren't able to visit all of them but the first one we checked off our list was the Jusangjeolli Cliffs (주상절리) where there were natural columnar joints created by the cooling of lava. This reminded me alot of the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland! However the waves here were much larger than the one in Northern Ireland. Take a look!

Jeju island is also famous for this little guy (featured in the first photo in this blog post).
He is known as "Hareubang" (하르방) which is the Jeju dialect for grandfather in Korean. Statues of him were available all throughout the island. This included a feature of him as a little mandarin orange filled puff. Jeju Island is also famous for its Hallabong (할라봉) orange variety which are sweet and seedless.

Therefore, the combination of hareubang and hallabong is this very yummy puff.

We headed to our next rented house (so that we could make a full round of the island) and the parents prepared the dinner - homemade samgyeobsal (삼협살). We also had some cold noodles (냉면) with it.

To end our second day in Jeju, we walked along the Saeyeongyo Bridge (새영교) which looked like a boat to me with the middle part featuring a vertical mast while the bridge itself looked like a boat.
You know the boat you tend to draw in kindergarten? Where there's literally one pole in the centre and a drawn triangle to be the mast. 

After walking around, we headed back to the house for a long chat till the early morning about the past, present and future which included tears and joy at the same time.

As the sun rose, we had some ramyun (라면)! It was the first thing we did in the morning before heading to another UNESCO site, the Seongsan Ilchulbong (성산 잊출봉) which is a tuff cone created by hydrovolcanic eruptions a few thousand years ago. 

We trekked to the top, thankfully using the provided neverending steps, and got a beautiful view of Jeju.

Upon reaching the top, it was a bowl-like crater covered in greenery. It looked like a perfect place to roll in all directions.

We then headed to Phoenix Island to bike around and see the horses, nature while feeling the cool breeze. It was my first time riding a bike since Poland (a year ago) and before that it was roughly 10 years since I rode one as well. So thankfully, I was able to survive the normal bike pretty well and I managed to try out the double one too!

Also I learnt how to ride a segway!!!!!!
It is actually a rather thrilling device I'd love to have but I'd probably become utmostly obese if I use it as walking is my main source of exercise haha!

View from the cliffs in Phoenix Island.

Phoenix Island also featured a 'Hansel and Gretel' themed gingerbread house.

It also came complete with a backyard too!

After all that exercise, we had a deep fried, crispy, succulent pork chop (돈가스) at a place I can't remember because I was too hungry.

Then the three of us headed to swim which was really fun because Taewoo's dad was just, as usual, hilarious. He was the best swimmer among the three of us and I was obviously the worst (once the floor was gone, I just hung on to the float for dear life).

Our last meal in Jeju featured the famous 자매국수 where we had to wait for almost half an hour for a table.

After killing time by playing children's games outside the shop (yes, shameless indeed), we finally got our table. We had bowls of cold noodles accompanied with fatty, juicy, succulent slices of pork which was definitely one of the best pork slices I've had. It was extremely tender and flavourful and was gone in a few seconds.

That concludes my trip to Jeju!
It was one of the best vacations I've ever had thanks to Taewoo and his family for being so kind, generous and friendly. It was also the last time I got to spend with them as I've left their house just yesterday. With many new memories, friends and family being made, it was a rather sad departure filled with me being near-to-tears and leaving letters behind to each family member. After many hugs and goodbyes, I'm now currently at Chorong's (초롱) house in Haman (하만).

Although my journey with Taewoo's family has ended, it was special and I look forward to the rest of my Korean trip! Look out for more posts coming up soon!

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